Transforming the lesser negative into the greater positive.

94 Spiritual boost from raw Brussel sprouts

Supporting fairness In article 90 I declared that natural resources cannot be private property. The thought coincides with Chief Seattle who said “How can you buy or sell the sky, the warmth of the land? The idea is strange to us. If we do not own the freshness of the air and the sparkle of the water, how can you buy them? Every part of the earth is sacred to my people.” The article containing his quote is a balanced analysis of the role of Native Americans. It acknowledges the difficulty of unrealistic expectations and forges ahead to respectful reverence. …

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87 Gentle lesson

The German way On our visit to Germany, our hostess, my mother’s sister (my Tante) Elsa, served delicious Leberwurst (liverwurst). I cut a circle and spread it out across my bread. Tante Elsa firmly remonstrated, “In Deutchland drueckt man nicht die Wurst.“ (In Germany one does not press the sausage.) To the postwar Germans this generous serving was an affirmation of sufficiency—affluence, compared to what they had endured. My aunt was asking me to conform to local practice. It was polite for her to teach me manners. In German culture, that was not only acceptable; it was required. We had …

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84 Is there evil?

Meaning clarified Article 12 teaches that you are the light that reveals the happiness around you. Light carries warmth, spreading happiness. Light illuminates, making the happiness visible. Think of it as a bidirectional flow of cause and perception. Alternatively, think of sound. The adjective form of the word identifies a longitudinal pressure fluctuation: sound wave (type of wave). The noun form is illustrated in the grade school saying that a tree falling in a vacant forest does not make sound. Various dictionaries associate that meaning of “sound” as a noun with “auditory impression,” “sensation,” or “can be heard.” There “sound” …

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25 Redemption through education

I admit my mistakes more easily when other people are helping me to improve.  My admission is an agreement with others to make progress, and the very best kind is admission to myself that I can do better. The February 25 post this year introduced restorative justice for improving conditions by replacing bad with good behavior.  The program reduces the hurt to the perpetrator and to the victim.  Redirecting lives requires effort on both sides. The prison Shakespeare project is one example of changing lives.  Teachers report that inmates understand the misdeeds in the stories.  They identify with the hurt …

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16 So, What Is Needed?

In the prior post, we discussed people’s need to be needed. It plays out sadly in pet food commercials that tug at owners’ generosity emotions. Pets are supposed to give their owners happiness by gobbling up the advertised food. Careless owners are tempted to overindulge in watching their pets eagerly eating, resulting in obese pets. Carried to excess like this, the artificial need to be needed is injurious.  In this post, we examine what is needed. Insensitivity quickly becomes sinister.  For example, people rightly feel needed when they practice empathy and encourage their neighbors to succeed.  However, the process turns …

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15 Peak Motivation

People work harder for others than they do for themselves because humans are hard-wired for cooperation.  For motivation, social value is stronger than self-interest. Negative proof:–Recently a respected retirement home was saddened by the suicide of one of its most appreciated residents, a retiree from an active and productive career, father of several successful, caring children.  Living with his wife, he was surrounded by healthy activities and supporting family—a prime prospect for an active retirement. There was no surprise in his suicide.  Being provided everything he needed, he was missing the most important ingredient of life:  nobody needed him.  After …

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6 Let’s Be (Positively) Real

Eagerness can tempt us to take shortcuts to wrong goals.  An example is the mythical deity (“jealous god of wrath”) who establishes calm by destroying perpetrators (“the wicked”), a classical quick fix that does not solve problems.  In contrast, patience is a long path to the right goal.  An example is Christian longsuffering that sees the Paul inside every Saul, offering a solution of construction instead of destruction–improving, not removing. We do not expect that every perpetrator will be immediately transformed.  However, the patient offer of redemption strengthens both the mover and the one moved upon and the situation is …

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